Oscar, Hernanes & Lucas Moura on target as Brazil beat France
Porto Alegre: Brazil earned their second win in their seventh game under Luiz Felipe Scolari with a timely 3-0 win over France at the Arena do Gremio.
The Selecao struggled during the early exchanges but a tactical change from the coach saw them begin to control proceedings. Early in the second half they finally opened the scoring through Oscar before Hernanes struck and a Lucas Moura penalty wrapped up the win in the closing stages to give the team a lift before the Confederations Cup.
There could have been a goal in the first minute when Hugo Lloris was too hesitant on the ball on the edge of his area and Neymar picked his pocket. The new Barcelona signing tried to shimmy around the keeper who got a valuable foot in which allowed his defence to clear it properly.
But it was France who played the best football, and with the Selecao struggling Scolari made the decision to move Neymar out to the left and revert to the previously tested 4-2-3-1 system. With Hulk on the right he instantly looked more dangerous, but after cutting in onto his left the first time in the 19th minute he blazed a shot well over.
Brazil continued to pose a threat down the right. First, Hulk`s low cross after beating Jeremy Mathieu was cleared at the near post by Mamadou Sakho and then it took a well-judged interception from Mathieu Valbuena to stop Neymar tapping home from Oscar`s cross just after the half hour mark.
To their credit les Bleus were stubborn, but Brazil were unable to take any of their opportunities to take an advantage into the break.
There were chances for both teams within two minutes of the restart as Yohan Cabaye fired an effort from distance just outside the post after Hulk had only found the side netting at the end of a Canarinha counterattack.
The deadlock was soon broken in the 54th minute, though, and it went the way of the hosts. Luiz Gustavo won possession in midfield and the loose ball fell to Fred on the left. He took his time before passing inside to Oscar, who took a touch and slotted the ball past Lloris.
Minutes later the Chelsea man could have added a second, but he could not guide a delicate flick with his trailing leg inside the far post.
Julio Cesar was forced to produce an impressive save to stop David Luiz from putting through his own goal on the hour mark, but Lloris outdid him six minutes later. The keeper got down well to parry a shot from Fred aside and then showed good agility to make it a double save by beating Neymar to the loose ball.
Brazil`s first victory over France since August of 1992 was wrapped up with six minutes of normal time, though, as Neymar cushioned Lucas Moura`s cross into the path of Hernanes. The Lazio man did not make a clean connection with the ball but still managed to guide past Lloris via the post.
There was still time for more icing on the cake as a slick run from Marcelo ended with the hosts being awarded a penalty in stoppage time and Paris-based Lucas slotted it into the bottom corner.
Scolari`s side will take confidence from the win and will hope to build upon it when they get their Confederations Cup campaign underway against Japan next weekend.